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Journal

Daily Journal #2

5/01/08:

I am incredibly frustrated with Hanoi. I don’t know if it is the fact that I cannot understand/speak Vietnamese; feel suffocated in the city, or just frustrated with the conservativeness of the culture, or maybe everything. But I am incredibly frustrated with everything that is happening while I am touring the city. I almost feel incompetent to enjoying the city without a local. I love being away from Hanoi and seeing the other parts of Vietnam, such as Ha Long Bay and Huong Son temple. There is something that is starting to get under my skin about Hanoi.

Today, as Tom and I were walking around Hanoi, trying to find various places, locals kept on starring at us – more so than other westerners. I had my picture taken by multiple people. When we were at the West Lake, a young man began conversing with us in English. He began following us everywhere and trying to sell postcards saying he was a struggling student approached us. It wasn’t the fact that he was trying to sell us something, but the fact that he asked us questions about how long we stayed in Hanoi, commenting on our appearances, trying to wheedle things out of us after attempting to gain our trust. We ended up going to the post office and trying to lose him.

Although Tom and I were a lot smarter at hiding that we were tourist, we still stuck out like a sore thumb. The streets are all very confusing as the same road has multiple names. There were people everywhere. We did do interesting activities such as a spa visit and western food. However it all felt very unsatisfactory and unsettling. At the first café we went to, this British woman kept glancing at me on her adjoining table. Then she intrusively chimed into our conversation, recommended a site for us to visit (after telling us that the map in lonely planet is false), and all this was directed not at me (who was sitting closest towards her side) but at Tom. I felt incredibly frustrated by her complete rudeness and indirection towards me.

When we were at the spa, the women were very nice. However as I was conversing with one of them, I began feeling uncomfortable. In the very little amount of English that she knew, my manicurist asked me if I was from America. After finding that I was from America, she asked if I had a boyfriend and how long I was together with him. When I answered, she gave me mixed response. Then when she found out that I was only 20 years old, she seemed a little confused. Her reaction towards my answer was very interesting and all of a sudden, I began to understand and felt a little uncomfortable sitting there. I felt as if the whole spa thought I was Vietnamese and that I was dating Tom. That somehow having an American boyfriend has enabled me to leave Asia and return with wealth. Maybe I am over-reacting or misinterpreting the whole entire interaction, but the thought just hit me. It is not uncommon for things like that to occur and I have certainly heard about such relationships in Hawaii. I have no idea what thoughts were running through her mind and somehow, I don’t think I want to know. After everything, I don’t think I want to know what all the locals are thinking. I don’t know if it’s easier to just stick with the fact that there is some type of resentment from the locals towards me or me towards them, but I just feel tense in Hanoi as if I had overstay their welcome.

It is interesting that the only times that I’ve wished to be white so many times has been only when I am in Asia. I want to look like the American that the locals are used to – blonde, blue-eyed, and fair. Instead they cannot understand what I am. I am not as fair as the east-Asian country visitors nor do I inhibit any of their mannerisms. I certainly do not look like them or maybe I do in some mixed way. Everyone in the Bates group has been complaining of being laughed at when they try to speak Vietnamese. I have stopped trying to speak the language because I am always approached with Vietnamese and stared at. I do not identify with any ethnic culture. I do not look Chinese or Japanese. I do not look American or white. What do I look like then? Am I really that risky liberal looking with my skirts and open tops? How am I supposed to understand how the people deal with this suffocating humidity in jeans and long sleeves? Do they think I am another Vietnamese-American who has lost her ethnic language and abilities to reconnect to a land that she has left when she was younger?

I am beginning to understand the ethnic crisis that Asian Americans are feeling all around the international world. Learning/knowing the language will never make up for the lies our own features seem to televise. Maybe this is all about adjustments. This phase seems almost another normal step for me to undergone every time I leave the country. Despite all my frustrations, I do appreciate the fact that I am in this country and am getting a chance to go through this whole culture change again.

5/03/08:

I find it interesting that we are visiting so many tourist spots around Vietnam when our group believes that they are seeing and understanding the Vietnamese culture. Then there are the experiences of being laughed at and experiencing ridicule. This makes me reflect back to my reaction towards tourists in Hawaii and how we viewed them. It is always kind of funny to realize how much you take for granted because you are a native/local in the area. It also makes me question how many times I personally have gone to the same tourist spots. Now, being on a study tour and a tourist, we are seeing the same spots that the Vietnamese locals have taken for granted and might also have never gotten a chance to visit themselves. I understand the numerous sellers, with “traditional” tourist souvenirs/wares, wanting to sell and gathering around those tourist spots. I understand why I question the group. I am beginning to understand how different our trip is in comparison to those tourist groups that are normally catered towards westerners. I see this in the goods my roommate buys and how I am not attracted to buy any of those things. I understand the attraction behind these items, the desire to want/hold something that is made in a different country as if this object seems to signify the entire experience/country. This consumption is a glimpse of what they are taking away from the culture – as if this is meant to symbolize their experience. I don’t know why I don’t buy into it, believing postcards to be more visual symbol than an actual material/object. Maybe because I have seen it all and acquired “materials” in China already. Maybe it is because of the little voice in my head dissuading me from the purchase. Or could it be that I have seen all the tourist souvenirs back home to encase it in all one single cubicle suitcase?

Although we are visiting places where there are many tourists, we are also seeing sights that are not normally open without special privileges. We are eating dishes that are not necessarily catered to be enjoyed by a westerner. On our days off, I understand the group’s desire for western food. When I hear the others talk about what they crave from home, I ask myself if I am craving anything, and the answer is that I don’t. They are craving for things that I have never have any attachments to begin with. I have specific dishes/foods that I love, but somehow, I am satisfied with everything Prof. Trian has ordered for us. Prior to this trip, I have had not that much exposure towards Vietnamese cuisine. Still I will try everything without questioning the contents. I didn’t realize how/where I developed/acquired this habit of eating whatever was placed in front of me, always tasting something before questioning what it is. In comparison, I realize I get frustrated by the group’s constant questioning of what is in each dish, what is the type of food they are eating, and their hesitance to even try some of the things because they are afraid of its foreignness. Again I find myself back in the two worlds, understanding their natural hesitance and their questions, but yet at the same time, just wanting all of them to just accept and be respectful. We had originally asked Professor Trian what was considered to be rude at the table, if there was anything specific a group of westerners should know while dining out. There were few things but it still did not prepare us for the worst. I don’t think it’s necessarily rude, but personally, I feel a bit disrespected by their constant meal questions/hesitations.

I am also always reflecting back on my Shanghai experience when I am in Vietnam. I don’t know what it is about this country (or rather the specific city of Hanoi) that makes me not question everything so much. I almost feel rather immune towards the same cultural experiences that the group is experiencing. Instead I am undergoing a different type of cultural experience that I doubt anyone on this trip will be able to relate to unless they are colored. Therefore I can relate to some feelings Kimal experiences. I am always a bit of envious of the experience the rest of the white American kids in my group are experiencing. In many ways, I feel they are allowed to question/criticize certain parts of the Vietnamese/Asian culture because they are white. Like being in America, their whiteness gives them a type of shield or rather blind that shelter them from the stigma and scorn of Vietnamese/Asian. This view is not solely from the westerners’ presence but also furthered by the Vietnamese/Asians. They view white skin/whiteness, and they automatically assume many of the already pre-made assumptions/stereotypes that have been around for many years. When their eyes hit another color (yellow and black), everything is thrown out the window. Perhaps I am generalizing/stereotyping/grouping them into categories, but I have come to realize that they do not understand automatically nor easily about me. I am the new curiosity.

These two past nights, walking through the streets with Mert, Tom, and Kimal, I am fully aware of the shock we must have caused by traveling together. In many ways, it makes me smirk about how different and narrow-minded many people are. I was conversing with Mert last night and as I pointed out my discomfort about walking through Hanoi, Mert also began noticing the local’s peculiarity aimed towards me. He pointed out the difference between the locals noticing Emma and Krystina (who were walking in front of us) and their awareness of me. They glance at Emma and Krystina momentarily, acknowledging they are different but they have seen many white female tourists. When their eyes move towards me, their expression changes and they are pointedly starring, seizing me up. It wasn’t only men but women as well. I learned from my first day off in Hanoi that I must dress conservatively. Despite my outfit (long jeans and open top/halter) I do not fit in. I am taller than most of the women walking around. The way I walk and hold myself is foreign. I appear to be older than most Vietnamese girls my age. Last night we went to a nightclub where many local Vietnamese and westerners go. It was interesting to see their reaction and their thoughts racing through their minds. I think for once, I was somewhat more comfortable there, inside the sweaty smoke atmosphere than I have ever felt walking through the streets of Hanoi. At least inside this club, I can be mistaken to be a westerner if I am around the Bates kids, or a Vietnamese local showing these kids around. I see the looks I receive from both western men and Vietnamese men. Like Kimal, I am going to approach this proud and loud – just accepting it that I am different and should not be ashamed of how I feel/look. I am only a novelty if they are not exposed/educated to understand it.

5/05/08:

As I was talking with Thao last night, I realized that the Vietnamese locals understand that I am not Asian or rather that I am a westerner/foreigner. However they cannot understand that why it is I have an Asian face and western mannerisms. Reflecting on my previous entries, I don’t think I ever thought the Vietnamese locals thought I was one of them but rather a westerner with an Asian face and not fully understanding the extent of “what” label I am. I don’t think my feelings towards my ethnicity have changed from the pervious entries. Instead I think it has turned more introverted and I am beginning to analyze it at different angles.

Despite whatever angles I am reflecting from, the single fact it all boils down to is that I having nothing or all but never just one culture/ethnicity. In Vietnam (or in any Asian countries), I lose the freedom/liberties westerners traveling with me are given and experience because of my Asian face. In contrast, I also lose the ability to communicate with my western travelers because I understand the Asian culture only to a certain level and find difficulties communicating a particular aspect of it to them. For example, I was trying to explain the idea of “cuteness” and contemporary Asian femininity to Tom. He thought that the two Asian girls he met here in Vietnam were a bit immature as if they were acting like they were teenagers when they are in their mid-twenties. It was something I had always taken for granted and just accepted about Asian girls because I’ve known many back in Hawaii. This idea of Asian girls wanting to be “cute” to be attractive does not go along with the American stereotypes of Asians. The Asian Americans meet in America are smart because they are constantly driven by parents who are immigrated to America for that very reason. Some of the parents are part of literati class in their Asian countries; therefore the education level expectation is raised. We are seeing the reasons for leaving the country and in many ways, finally see why many people call America as the land of opportunities. Explaining this was similar to explaining the stereotype of American dumb blonde. Not necessarily every single Asian girl was dumb just like how not every blonde girl is ditzy and giggly. It is all an act, a security show that many girls in the world put up as a front, like how many people want to feel more confident. It is just the western perspective was not expecting that due to the created belief/notion of the Asians acting particularly smart and motivated.

Many Asian stereotypes are being put to test since we have arrived to America. It also reveals to me how narrow-minded and almost racist some westerners are when they come to an Asian country. How white French tourists/white westerners prefer to see the old imperialistic quarters after centuries of imperialism. It is the only place that they feel comfortable, both atmosphere and food, as if they prefer to visit Europe (or an European satellite). But that is always the thing about visitors (from any country), right? Seeing/taking away from the place only what they want to see – going back to the idea of consumption/capitalism. And in this whole world, we are all prostitutes giving up our bodies for capital. Capital is inescapable. It is in the very air that we breathe daily, worming into our vital cells raked by our lungs, ready to break out the moment we need to join the rat race. As I write these thoughts down, I feel like a communist idealist/hypocrite, criticizing the capital motives even though I am an active consumer in this capitalist world.

In all of this, I am back to questioning where do I belong and what culture fits me. Hawaii has been such a bastardized community, an island on its own. Then again, everyone is an island onto their own – it just must be recognized and acknowledge before analyzed. But I do not feel the same as the rest of the island culture. Growing up in Hawaii, I’ve always known I was different from many of my friends. I acknowledge this difference when I converse with my mother as she displays many Chinese cultural mannerisms. I see this in the interaction I have with my Aunty, as she appears to have fully embrace the European and American culture, yet never fully letting go of her Chinese roots. Then there is me. Where do I fit in all of this? My Chinese mother is becoming more and more American by the minute while my European Aunt wants me to stop questioning this belonging. And now, all of sudden being in Vietnam, I am questioning my identity, my lens that I use to see Vietnamese culture through. I wonder if this lens is too jarred, skewed to be trusted.

5/05/08:

This morning I went for a walk with Prof. Trian. I saw Vietnam wake up or at least Quang Binh. Since it was a coastal village, it reminded me somewhat of fishing lifestyle in Hawaii. The only difference was that these people really depended on fishing for their living. Walking around I got to see for the first hand the people, come into contact with the ocean instead of seeing it through the bus window, and experience sunrise in Vietnam. It was so invigorating to walk around with the sun. It was just the right temperature. The humid tension of the day, like the rising sun, had just been gathering. The people were buzzing to life. Some were still zipped in their green cocoon hammocks, deep in slumber and ignoring the rest of the world for another 5 more minutes. School children, two per seat swayed sleepily on their two-wheeler bikes. Motorbikes grumbling to life, signal the slow rumbling and groaning of metallic engines. Fishing boats, casting a lazy shadow in the late dawn, draw closer to shore. Some mended their nets, preparing like studious students for the day’s test. They light incense by the bank, a local traditional praying for good luck and prosperity. Elderly file stagnantly through the sidewalks in their billow pants and loose tunics, gather around arguing and conversing with each other or fishermen. A truck strayed parked to the side with a man towering to heave two baskets of small anchovies onto the back while arguing with a fisherman and his wife. Random people are perched, like sitting ducks, by the banks watching orange sun peep through its dark hazel navy down-comforter. It felt like we were the only two walking and the path seemed endless. Looking down, my feet touched concrete mixed with loose dirt and weeds. It was very different from the sandy gritted between my toes that I felt in Kaneohe Bay. We stopped at a burnt down cathedral, its red-orange bricks crumble the years of bombardment. The French arching mouth seems forlorn and empty in this village. It’s resilient and silent stance marks the reminiscence of the French presence, something this country can never wash away. The century of French colonialism resides within the very dirt of each rural province and mixed into the concrete of every city block. Rubber trees, rice, coffee, pepper, banana trees, cash crops – the natural resources bent to serve the Chinese, Russian, Japanese, French, Americans, the world – riddle the land. Rooted so deeply, the people are learning to forget by consuming the bittersweet aftertaste of each coffee cup.

Whizzing away on the back of a motorbike towards the hotel (since Prof. Trian had two motorbikes taxi us), it occurred to me the lonely beauty and aura the land wafts forth. We are seeing the transition period of Vietnam going from an agricultural based country to a modern nation. I enjoy the naturalness of Vietnam although I can understand the importance in creating change. However it is also within this period of modernization that environmental issues are also considered. The whizzing hum of the two wheels reminded me of the pace of life in Vietnam – how even though we may not be in the city, life is constantly changing for everyone. Opportunities are increasing and buildings are blossoming as the days keep coming, each day bringing one more brick-stained village closer to being a city. Pretty soon these children will be on motorbikes and bicycles will be considered old-fashion and traditional. More concrete commercialized boats with bustling nets replacing the handmade and passed from generations of nets and boats. Will the mountains remain this green and aloof in years to come? Seafood was considered a poor man’s food decades ago. Now it is a growing delicacy.

I so very often forget that I am in Vietnam specifically, thinking that I am in China. So far, nothing really about this whole trip has shocked me like the rest of the students. I expected that we were going to stay in nice hotels and Vietnam to be just as modernized as any developing city. Prof. Trian keeps reminding me that Vietnam is about 10 years behind China’s development and I can see that. Despite having spent my majority of time in Shanghai’s city, the developing Asian nation culture is not so foreign to me. I enjoy seeing the country/rural side of Vietnam. I prefer being in the countryside lifestyle to the city bustle. I find it amusing to hear the students’ reaction towards the development of Vietnam. They did not expect such fancy accommodations, expecting dirt roads and very low-standards of living – an original idea that betrays their western thinking. I keep reflecting back to my personal shock of Shanghai’s transformation and can understand the original shock of the students. Asia is not as backwards as advertised and the west is not the only modernized/civilized standard of living despite Asia’s best attempts copy some of the standards. The fact that Asian countries can transport western accommodations and standards of living is proof of their ability to modernize with the rest of the world. It just needs to be given the chance, the acceptance into the rest of the world from the west.

I question the western nations, specifically America’s reaction towards the growing East. Due to colonialism and the aftermath from post-colonialism, nations like Vietnam and Cambodia are set back ten years in time from the rest of the world. Now in the 21st century, with the idea of equal opportunities rising to the lips of communist nations, how will the west interact with the east? Do the years of colonialism and imperialism create a kind of wool over their eyes, forever denying the prosperity of the east?

More specifically, Americans have an ignorant belief that everyone should embrace their culture and language. This language resistance and insistence of English is crumbling. Yesterday in the Phong Nha caves in Quang Binh province, I met a Chinese man who moved to Vietnam from China. I was finally able to use my Chinese after an entire week of frustrated silence in this country and it was liberating. I do not like to identity myself as “American”, preferring no label or any other label than that one, and being able to converse in a language that was not English, added to my lightness. I began thinking about how under-emphasized foreign language is in American culture. Even within our group, there are only about 4-5 students who can converse in a different language. It is disappointing how international countries (Europe included) can speak at least 2-3 different languages including their own. Often English is on that list because it is considered a business language. I personally wish I were accelerating in my foreign languages; that I had persistently stuck with German and Chinese when I was younger.

I wonder what Thao must be feeling and thinking about this whole trip. She is around the group when they are reacting towards various aspects of Vietnam. This is her country, her home. We as a group, sometimes forget or may not see the sacrifices she has done for us to be comfortable. I cannot imagine how I would be if I was in her position. She is there when students comment both negatively and positively about her culture. I appreciate and value her as a friend and guide, since she has always been so patient and kind towards all of us, never really showing her frustrations or worn-out patience in front of us. We sometimes are unaware of the demands we make upon her. We forget she is also a student, a 19-year-old who also just wants to have fun like the rest of us. It must difficult explaining certain customs and traditions that you are automatically expected to know/understand just because you are a native to this country.

Walking with Prof. Trian reminded me of the home videos I saw of my childhood when I was in Shanghai. My grandparents kept so many videos of my childhood, preserved like some tomb of a deceased to princess – it frightens me sometimes but I understand that is how they show their love and their memories of me. In these videos, I am bundled up in mismatched outfits although it was a good 70-80 degrees F outside. I am tagging along with my grandparents, walking though the parks and skipping alongside their long legs in the early dawn. Shanghai, in the videos and in my childhood memories, looks a lot like a combination of Hanoi and Quang Binh – maybe not as quite as modern. 15 years later, I walking through streets, trusting an older mentor to guide me through another country.

In my previous journal entries, I wrote about my frustration with the Vietnamese culture. In contrast, I am becoming increasingly frustrated with the western culture. I think many of us are here to learn how to understand the “other” culture but sometimes we are resilient into wanting to be out of our comfort zone. We went to a national cemetery today that was only specific to Quang Tri division that fought in the American War. What disappointed me was the insensitivity some students showed towards the entire trip, such as walking away from the group when Prof. Trian was explaining the importance of the place and commenting on the rudeness of Asian culture through their western perspective. I understand we’re reaching the point where many students are weary of traveling, find the Vietnamese culture foreign, and are getting increasingly getting tired of each other. I understand it because I can relate to that discomfort to a certain degree. But what is frustrating is the refusal/insensitivity/close-minded attitude some are starting to assume towards the entire culture. Just because they are not comfortable or they are done exoticizing/eroticizing the east and things about the culture are not what they originally believed to be frustrates them does not give them the right to constantly allow their previous stereotypes/thoughts about the culture to close them towards the reality of the culture.

Seeing Thao cry at the cemetery and trying to be polite about her pain was difficult and eye-opening. Prof. Trian’s comment about war, how war only creates victims/losers instead of victors, resonates deep. This is Thao’s and Prof. Trian’s home. There is pain rooted here but it is covered up so that westerners do not feel the heavy blame/guilt. We needed to see Thao’s true emotions to remind us of that. Therefore it frustrates me that some of the students do show the same respect as if we were at an American memorial. I keep asking myself would they have acted like this if we were in Washington D.C., visiting the memorial of the many American soldiers that died in the Vietnam War? Would they criticize the people for rubbing charcoal over the names of the tombs to have their names? Would they walk away, looking bored at the many incense fumes over tombs? Is it because of the foreign aspect of how burial and death are respected that they do not seem to understand? Or do they just not care about the past? About the sacrifice both sides made so that the contemporary generation can be standing where they are standing? Sometimes I just don’t know what to say to them. It is better to just walk away, maybe and get a breath of fresh air.

5/08/08:

I really enjoy Hue. Aside from having a great balance of city and rural, this city has roots deeper than that of Hanoi. It is the capital of dynasty. The residents are descendants from scholars; therefore there is a large focus on education matched with the appreciation of hard work in the fields. It is conservative in social standards but there is a type of honesty and civility portrayed in the people. The streets are cleaner and far less populated than Hanoi. The air feels lighter and hotter than that of Hanoi, due to the presence of less smog and pollution. Nature is a big presence, as Hue is located between the ocean and the mountains with the Perfume River running through it.

Because Hue used to be the location of imperial dynasties, it has a lot of tombs. We visited so many that they blurred in my mind. However the common theme amongst them was the central straight Northern-Southern central axis that ran through them – from the entrance to the altar. I found the Emperor Khai Dinh’s tomb reminded me of King Louis XIV of France due to the excess of his tomb and his lavish spending. Everything in the tomb was extravagant and excessive to the point of being tacky. I did like the concrete stone mandarins waiting outside. The place reminded me of Versailles and Prof. Trian said that he was trained in France and his reign was during the increasing French presence within Vietnam. Another tomb that I found to be interesting and memorable was Tu Duc’s tomb. He tried to be “humble” like the second Emperor but this tomb was anything but humble. The presence of the calligraphy word “Khiem” (Humble) was written all over his tombs. However parts of his tombs were lavishly decorated – from the presence of large concrete monuments and koi ponds to golden trees with jade fruit by his altar. He had a special section for his wives/concubines. They were to worship and care for his altar after his death, which seemed to me very egoistical.

I think what I enjoyed the most about Hue’s atmosphere is the laid-back carefree feeling that many of the locals seem to radiate. Although we were walking through a lot of the tourist areas and despite the peddler’s pressure, things seemed decently priced and people were willingly to bargain fairly with you. We needed feel harassed or really stared out – it is either the city of Hue or the fact that we are getting used to the Vietnamese tourist lifestyle.

5/10/08:

I am becoming increasingly weary of the group’s reactions towards Vietnamese culture. Yesterday, Prof. Trian took us on a trip to the Quang Tri province, to his mother’s tomb, to his birth village where he built a house when he was a teenager for his brother and his mother, and down to the Long An temple where he knows the abbot very well. The entire first half of the day was numbing and I felt rather emotionless. Driving through near the DMZ and listening to him talk about his experience on this road was indescribable. I didn’t know what to respond or even how to feel as he recounts his experience on that horrified road, a section between Hai Lang and Hai Chanh districts, which took hundreds of lives of civilians during the battles in the early summer of 1972. I kept looking out on the white sand dusting the few greens that powdered the highway, unsure of what to say or how to react. All I knew was that I wanted to write about this experience, this first half of the day – in a creative piece.

When we reached his mother’s tomb, I felt invasive. The visit was intensely personal. I was grateful to be there but yet unsure of whether I should be there. This wasn’t another tomb that we visited and studied and read about famous emperors. It was a personal cemetery for Prof. Trian’s family/clan. It was personal and very brave of him to bring 16 young American students to this – I personally could have never done it, not even my closest friends. Then as we visited his half-brother’s house/home, the atmosphere changed. It was at this point of the trip that I became frustrated with some group members. We were driving and walking around in one of the poorest parts of Vietnam and this thought did not hit many of the group members. Instead they focused on how cute the babies/pets were or how “exotic/interesting” the locals were living in their homes. We all were amazed that Prof. Trian help build his house out of metal left over from the army base and how he transported from such a great length. We were treated has high western guests, given some of the best fruits from the garden. We saw how the locals grew everything in their backyards and how Prof. Trian brought them medicine, chewing gum, and other things from the west. It reminded me of my parents, sending money and medicine back to China during the crucial times. It always reminded me of how lucky I was to be growing up in America or Germany and that I must always remember to care for those family members we left behind.

It was frustrating to see that many of the group members were not understanding the reason we were visiting the family and houses and then hearing them express the desire to leave for the next part of the trip. It was even more frustrating to see them take pictures of the houses and people in such a consumer fashion – not the group photos but rather in a tourist kind of fashion as if the village was another tourist attraction for them to brag about when they came home. So that they can say “how ethnic” or “how local” they came to experiencing the culture. The real frustrating thing was when we got back on the bus, everything flew out the window and they were back to talking about sallow things, such as the affairs of Bates students and what foods they missed about America. Meanwhile Prof. Trian shared facts about how these people work their whole lives to get their children a decent education. Many there were struggling to leave and realized the only way out is an education – an admirable trait that should never be overlooked.


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